By Mark Perlstein, CEO, Datavail
It no longer matters what industry you work in, how many employees you have, or whether your company markets to consumers, businesses, the private sector, or the public sector. No matter where you come from, data and analytics are a daily reality. The volumes of data most companies receive on a regular basis are astronomical. IT departments across the globe are fighting to implement tools and practices, prioritize, and sort the information they receive, and organize it in a rational way so they can analyze and build their business intelligence efforts. The reality is that the volume of data we experience today will inevitably and continually challenge us, and the volume of data will continually outpace our ability to perfectly manage it.
Data should be at the center of everything we do; as executives who want our businesses to grow and thrive, we know this. We are constantly generating tools, capabilities, and skillsets to manage it, and then right behind it, we are generating different tools, functions, and methodologies, to analyze it, but we will likely always be behind the data rather than in front of it. For the near future, we can expect that we are going to want more from the data that we are generating than we are currently able to obtain because the pace of the generation of data is clearly outpacing our ability to come up with solutions.
However, if we can set aside the ideal scenario and, instead, find a way to mine that data effectively, analyze it, link things together, and create associations between data sets, we can create decisions and support structures across every single aspect of the business. This is the heart of business intelligence that enables us to accomplish things we have previously never dreamed of. Given the amount of data, given the advent of applications that enable us to analyze data, and given the capabilities that we have generated to link everything together, we have the ability to affect everything.
Though it may seem we are always a step behind our data, we are catching up quickly.The business intelligence tools now available have gotten better and more user-friendly, and the underlying infrastructures that support those pools of data have gotten faster. We have more effective methods for storing data through data warehousing, data lakes, and software that enables a structured and consolidated view. The sophistication of the RBDMS options have matured with NoSQL databases and we can now store, organize, sort, and analyze different kinds of data–both structured and unstructured. It is when we take all of that together that we see how far we have come and how effectively business intelligence technologies and practices can serve to elevate our business.
"IT departments across the globe are fighting to implement tools and practices, prioritize, and sort the information they receive"
What does this mean for the future of business intelligence? Well, our relationship with data will never be an easy, worry-free walk in the park, but it is because of the volume, complexity, and value of data that it has so much potential. More and more consultants, contractors, and managed services companies are diving deep into the intricacies of analytics and the technologies that can build the reporting and data visualization capabilities we all need so that we can gain insights from our data without diving in headfirst without a life jacket. The data world is getting too big for one-size-fits-all solutions; we need to bring in people who can implement consistently while remaining flexible to the needs of individual businesses.
There is no doubt about it: business intelligence is the future. With the plethora of options available to us, there is no one best way to do anything. Every company has a unique set of circumstances and there are always going to be more options associated with how to do something than there is the binary decision of whether to or not do something. There are many different ways to analyze data and to understand data analytics. Therefore, it is important to make use of the tools and technologies available as well as the expertise of those who have taken the time and effort to focus on the nuances of business intelligence practices. With the progress the industry has made in the way, future looks positive with great potential for insight and improvement if we take advantage of the resources available to us.